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Member of Cabinet arrested and imprisoned

Member of Cabinet arrested and imprisoned

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A cabinet member and sometime speechwriter for Prime Minister Hun Sen was being detained in Prey Sar prison yesterday, accused of firing his gun while drunk and assaulting a motodop.

A government source, who did not wish to be named, told the Post Ken Sara, a former anti-government activist who defected to the CPP ranks, had been sacked from Hun Sen’s Cabinet yesterday after being arrested over a “drunken” Khmer New Year incident in the capital’s Daun Penh district on Friday.

Ken Sara, a former member of Hun Sen’s group of secretaries, whose role also included helping to plan the prime minister’s schedule, had faced court on Monday, Sun Lean, chief of Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre I, said.

“He was sent to jail on Monday. He was charged with using a weapon without permission and committing a violent act,” Sun Lean said. “He is at the prison awaiting his trial.”   

Nong Vandy, chief of Phsar Kandal II commune, said police arrested Ken Sara on Friday at about 8pm after an altercation with another man outside his home.

“Ken Sara was very drunk. He slapped the face of a motorbike driver who had been standing near his house,” he said. “Ken Sara threatened him and fired a bullet into the air.”

Police seized a gun with three bullets from Ken Sara and took him to Daun Penh military police station for questioning, Nong Vandy said.

The government source, from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet, said Hun Sen had taken swift action to sack Ken Sara yesterday by signing a sub-decree confirming the dismissal.

Chief of Hun Sen’s Cabinet Ho Sethy and Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Ek Tha declined to comment about the alleged incident and sacking, while Chum Kosal, Hun Sen’s personal adviser, could not be reached for comment.

A close friend of Ken Sara, who asked not to be named, said the accused man was a former member of the Students’ Movement Democracy that had been very active in the anti-government movement – formed after the 1998 election – during 2005.

Ken Sara had demonstrated with hundreds of students over border issues Cambodia was locked in with Thailand and Vietnam; however, he had “surrendered” to the Cambodian People’s Party in 2008 and began working for the government, his friend said.

A defence lawyer for Ken Sara could not be reached for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at buthreaksmey.kongkea@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Shane Worrell

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